Life was going so well… her voice trailed off causing me to look up from my laptop. She was still reading her prayer book. For a moment I wondered if I’d imagined the words. But, no I had heard them clearly. What? I asked quietly. She lifted her face slowly and stared me right in the eye. Life was going so well before the accident, she repeated. I nodded and she went back to her book, leaving me in a daze. The words were heavy and yet, somehow they floated in the room between me and her. Between her and the world. I couldn’t imagine what prompted her to speak them out loud… What agony must linger behind those thoughts, I thought. But, there was a definite tinge of regret in her voice and I had heard it loud and clear.
It has been exactly 233 days since my mom’s horrific accident. The details have been exhausted over and over again. 7 months, 21 days. 33.3 weeks. A lifetime. Time is an illusion. Yet, in that amount of time, our loss has been immeasurable. My mom is confined to a wheelchair. She has very limited mobility. Just the act of moving from the bed to the wheelchair takes 30 mins. Everything has slowed down for her. She has lost her independence. She’s unable to care for herself and as a result
most some of her confidence has been eroded. She’s 65 years old and facing one of the more difficult periods of her life. I don’t recognize the person who inhabits my mom’s body. She is weak and feeble. She is defeated. I can’t place her smiles, her sighs or her discomforts anymore. She’s a beautiful stranger to me and I wonder if I’ll ever see my mom again. I can feel a permanent crack forming in my chest bone, as I write this..
She has been home for exactly 27 days. Not even a month and already the pressure is getting to her. She wants to get better, I’m sure… we all do. But, her body is not in her control. Take it easy with her, I say to my dad. To my sister. To anyone who will listen. Because I can feel everyone’s frustration, including my own. We all want her to magically snap out of it. Somehow, get up and walk again. But, we don’t know what she’s been through. Sure, we see the scars but we have no idea what lies beneath them. We can’t imagine what dark thoughts plague her at night. We don’t know what hell she’s witnessed and what else awaits her. We have no freaking clue how it feels to wear a diaper, pee out of a tube, depend on someone else to do EVERY DAMN THING for you.. We are such blessed ignorant fools!
Where can we go from here? Only up says my heart. This house has good energy, she says trying to be positive. But, we both know this is not home. This place is just a shell. A temporary landing spot until the next phase presents itself. Just like her body right now… It will take a lifetime to build a home and we don’t have that kind of time anymore. But, time is an illusion, I have to remind myself, and my parents are survivors of a primitive kind. They’ve built brand new universes wherever they’ve gone and soon they will have to build a new one. And, they will roll up their sleeves and get to work. But, they won’t have to do it alone… they have an army waiting to help them!
Life must get better for my dad. His devotion to my mom is inspiring, but what gets me the most is that he doesn’t even get a thank you in return. He’s doing his duty… beautifully! He’s come a long way and I’m so proud of him. As I think of all the things I’ve lost, I’m also grateful for the many wonderful things I’ve found. I’ve found my family again, in the worst of times and in the best of times… both near and far. I’ve found love, respect, compassion, appreciation and grace… from every nook and corner. More than I deserve. I’ve found my confidence in my siblings. They’ve held me up even when I was completely wrong about everything. And some day, I believe, I will find my mom again… her sweet, smiling face radiating with light and hope, and she will tell me in her own voice… Life is good again!